Monday 8 September 2014

Stay Alive app: a pocket suicide prevention resource for the UK

A new, free app is being launched on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2014), offering help and support to people who are thinking about suicide or who know someone who is.

The Stay Alive app is the first of its kind to offer UK-wide information on where to get help. It has been developed by Brighton-based charity Grassroots Suicide Prevention and digital company Switchplane and is supported by Network Rail and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.  Stay Alive is a pocket suicide prevention resource whose user is only a few presses away from crisis support, up-to-date resources, guidance and interactive tools to support suicide prevention. 

The app is highly customisable: as well as links to services, the app includes a ‘LifeBox’ section where you can upload pictures which remind you why you want to stay alive and a mini-safety plan for use in a crisis.  Other features include a myth-busting section about suicide, research-based reasons for living and useful information and strategies about what to do if you have thoughts of suicide.

Chris Brown, Director of Grassroots, said: “Many of us have been affected by suicide in some way, and have some understanding of how important it is for help to be available and accessible when needed.  This app literally puts a suicide prevention resource in people’s pockets, making help easier to find in times of need.”

Ian Stevens, Programme Manager (Suicide Prevention), Network Rail: “The rail industry operates through the very heart of communities devastated by suicide and these events impact deeply on our own people too.  It is important that we support such communities by doing what we can to address this issue and offering our support to those seeking to affect change within their own neighbourhoods and beyond.  We are proud to support this innovative solution which allows people thinking about suicide to find the help they need, day or night, no matter where they may live.”

Emma Wadey, Director of Nursing Standards and Safety at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Suicide is everyone's business; it devastates so many lives no matter who you are, where you work or where you live. We want to use every method available to us to make Sussex, and beyond, a place where people thinking about suicide are supported and helped in their workplace and their community."

For further information contact:
Chris Brown, Grassroots Suicide Prevention. Tel: 01273 675764 

App info

App Name: StayAlive
Developers: Grassroots Suicide Prevention, and Switchplane
Launch Date: September 10th 2014
Cost: free
Category: Education, Self-Help, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle & Medical
Platforms: Android, iOS
Download links on Grassroots websiteFacebook and Twitter.

World Suicide Prevention Day is led by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation. Efforts to prevent suicide have been celebrated on September 10th each year since 2003. In 2014, the theme of the day is 'Suicide Prevention: One World Connected.' The theme reflects the fact that connections are important at several levels if we are to combat suicide.

Grassroots Suicide Prevention ( is a small charity based in Brighton, UK. Established in 2006, the charity provides mental health and suicide prevention training courses and expertise to both large and small organisations in the South East England region. The charity is involved in local and national strategic suicide prevention work and is working towards Brighton & Hove being designated as an internationally recognised suicide-safer city.

Network Rail ( runs, maintains and develops Britain’s rail tracks, signalling, bridges, tunnels, level crossings, viaducts and 19 key stations.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust ( provides NHS mental health, learning disability, substance misuse and prison healthcare services across Sussex, and a developing range of specialist services across the south east of England and beyond.

Switchplane ( is a digital agency based in Eastbourne.

Wednesday 13 August 2014

World Suicide Prevention Day 10 September: Free Workshops and the Launch of UK’s First Suicide Prevention App

Grassroots Suicide Prevention warmly invites you to attend a day of activities at The Brighthelm Centre (North Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1YD) to mark World Suicide Prevention Day in Brighton & Hove this September 10th.

9.30 am – 1.00 pm:  Free suicide alertness training for community members

Grassroots is delighted to be offering 60 free places on safeTALK (Suicide Alertness For Everyone) to community members, thanks to donations from One Cent Call, The Mucky Duck Pub and local fundraisers.  Learn more about the course and book a place here 

1.00 – 2.00 pm:   A *free lunch* will be provided for people staying on for the afternoon’s workshops.

2.00 – 3.15 pm:  Free workshops open to all (followed by a break)  Please RSVP to if you would like to attend the afternoon workshops and/or public session (see below). 

·         Self Help and resources for someone at risk of suicide
·         Developing suicide safer organisations and services
·         Mindfulness session

3.30 – 4.00 pm:  Resources Marketplace in the auditorium. 

Our stand will be taking pledge signatures, selling books, and giving out suicide prevention resources to the public.  Other local services will be represented too.  We have room for 1 or 2 other local organisations to have a stand.   Please get in contact if you would like to join us:  

4.00 – 6.00 pm:  Public session

We are thrilled to announce that we will use this session to launch two significant suicide prevention innovations:

·         The UK’s first suicide prevention app for smartphones and tablets
·         The UK’s first suicide prevention tool for people with learning disabilities

Confirmed speakers for the public session include:

·         Giles York (Chief Constable Sussex Police and Force lead for Diversity)
·         Ian Stevens (Suicide Prevention Programme Manager for Network Rail)
·         Lisa Rodrigues (former CEO of Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust and new Grassroots Trustees)

The theme for World Suicide Prevention this year is ‘Suicide Prevention: One World Connected’ (  During the session we will also be hearing from international partners.

Grassroots Suicide Prevention gratefully acknowledges funding from Public Health Brighton & Hove City Council and Sussex Community Foundation which has enabled us to organise these events.

Please RSVP to if you would like to attend the afternoon workshops and/or public session.  We hope to see you there for what will be an inspiring and fun day.

See the event on Facebook.

Will you take the 'Tell Me' pledge? Sign up to have open, honest and direct conversations about suicide:

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Be a ‘Tell Me’ Pledge Ambassador!

Be a ‘Tell Me’ Pledge Ambassador!           

The pledge can help save lives: The pledge encourages community members to talk openly and directly about suicide if they are concerned for someone else, or themselves. Speaking out about their thoughts of suicide, or supporting others, is vital to reducing the number of suicides in Brighton & Hove.

One in twenty of us, or 5%, will consider suicide in any two week period. We want, for each person in Brighton & Hove who thinks about suicide, to know that there is a nominal person somewhere else in the city who has taken the pledge.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Just in: Auction of Promises!

Auction of Promises Evening

Are you ready to bid?

Help us to save lives with your support at our 
Gala Evening of Fun, Food, Fundraising and Live Music!

Join us on Friday 6th March 7pm at All Saints Church, Hove

Opening our event is Gail Porter!

Prizes include:
  • £50 cocktail voucher from Azure Brighton
  • Digital personalised cartoon strip or short children's fiction
  • 3 treatments complementary therapy treatments from Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre
  • 2 tickets for a Krater Comedy Club on any Sunday at Komedia
  •  £100 voucher for The Coal Shed Restaurant
  • Tour of ITV Studios including meeting with the presenters and watching the news go out live 

Tuesday 13 May 2014

 This is a guest blog from Dr Alys Cole-King, who is a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist and Co-Founder of Connecting with People.  She is the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ spokesperson on suicide and self-harm and also sits on their Patient Safety Working Group.  Alys works with Royal Colleges, voluntary bodies, academics, patient leaders, carers and sits on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide and Self-harm Prevention.  She promotes compassion, patient safety and a public health approach to suicide prevention, wellbeing and resilience.

Why we all need to support the #TellMe Pledge’ 

"Stigma kills….Suicidal thoughts are far more common than people realise but we don’t talk about them.  Stigma means that it can be embarrassing or frightening to tell another person and this is absolutely critical to getting help.  As a psychiatrist, I have seen hundreds of people with suicidal thoughts and many people who tried to end their life and then changed their minds.  In far too many cases that person had suffered in silence and was too scared to tell anyone how they felt. 

The stigma surrounding suicide means that most people do not know how to approach someone who they think might be suicidal.  People who are considering self harm or suicide do not know where or how to get help.   At Connecting with People we, and our partners, are dedicated to tackling these issues.

I am therefore delighted, on behalf of Connecting with People, to support Grassroots and their partners Suicide Safer Brighton & Hove in their #TellMe pledge initiative.  In my view this is absolutely critical to saving lives.  

You can take the pledge here: 

Suicidal thoughts usually start because people feel overwhelmed by their problems or their situation.  This can happen to absolutely anyone.  People find it hard to ‘see a way out’.  It is not that they necessarily want their life to end: it is just that they cannot cope with their emotional or physical pain any more.

Suicide prevention is like a massive jigsaw puzzle – it looks really complicated until we get close and see its just made up of small pieces – all we have to do is look after our piece of the puzzle – know how we can stay safe and where to get help if we are worried about someone. The first step is to recognise that life is not going well and to know that support is available if you just know what to do and where to go.

Please sign up to the Grassroots pledge – help save a life…it could be yours or someone you love."

For more information about Connecting with People and their training, campaigns and resources please see

Please also connect with them on Twitter @AlysColeKing @openmindscwp @OpenMindsLtd

Other blogs about stigma by Alys:

The Day I Found Out Stigma Can Kill:
Tackling Stigma Saves Lives: 

Monday 17 February 2014


Author Nita Tarr, who has lived through kidnap, abuse, rape, murder, depression and chronic illness, tells her story in her new book “Suicidal Christians” with profound depth and insight.  Her multiple suicide attempts and what triggered them, are laid bare.  This is an excerpt from that book:

'Over the years, I have attempted suicide many times for many different reasons – most were after I became a Christian.  Unfortunately, I cannot remember all of them, but I remember some:  When I was in my early teens I took an overdose of tablets because I felt rejected, alone, misunderstood and scared.  In my late teens, I was trying to get someone’s attention.  While I was being abused I did it because I wanted the fear and torture to stop.  When I got married, crushing disappointment combined with feelings of being trapped led to another attempt.  In my thirties medication for depression, combined with booze, caused me to want to die.  Then, after childbirth and having just moved to a new country, the most insidious of all the reasons: depression set in.  Its grip was gradual and I did not at first recognise it for what it was, but it led me to the brink.
When I was a child, I loved comic books.  I had a mountain of them - Little Dot, Archie, Dennis the Menace, to name a few. One day I overheard my mother, a teacher, explaining to someone that she was concerned that I still wasn’t reading ‘real’ books at the age of eight but that she thought comics might help.  She was wise.  But I thought she was crazy and that I would love them forever.  But, quite gradually, something started to change.  They began to lose their appeal.  The pictures looked dull and the stories boring.  I no longer cared about what happened to Betty or Little Dot.

This is how it felt when I got depressed: suddenly, everything changed.  The things that had given me excitement and happiness before looked dull and boring now - the heaviness inside me stifled and paralysed.  Whereas before, I had been able to change gear from first to second to third, now I was in neutral.  It became difficult to motivate myself to get up in the morning and I slept at every opportunity.

At first I asked:  “Why do I feel like this?” But gradually I began to feel nothing at all.  I tried to make sense of it all by ascribing feelings to my lack of feeling, for example, if someone asked, I would say I was lonely or sad or unfulfilled.  But I wasn’t.  I was just feeling nothing.

Whatever happened I remained in neutral gear:  If something good happened…nothing; something bad…nothing.  Everything meant nothing.  Nothing on the outside changed anything on my inside.  I had nothing to give and nothing to live for.

Not being able to feel anything led to mind-numbing boredom.  I would see people laugh at jokes and wonder what was so funny.  I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything.  I would listen to others sing songs to God and wonder why. I heard sermons that left others challenged, but I couldn’t get any meaning out of them.  There was no meaning in anything.

Colours were duller.  Music was sadder.  Everyone looked desperate and unhappy.  I found no purpose in work. I even began to avoid those I loved because they were too much effort.

I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable around me and I was scared of being judged, so I pretended.  Having been trained as an actress helped.  I would smile but it hurt.  I would laugh and it would sound false to me.  I couldn’t cry.  Well, not at first…

Some of those closest to me knew though, and they tried to fix me.  I tried to fix me too:  thinking happy thoughts, not thinking too much; eating better, not eating too much; getting exercise, not being obsessed with exercise; being good to me, not focusing on me; trying to be happy, not trying so much.  I was left feeling like I had been put in a washing machine without any water – tossed and dry.

I started to feel like I was a shell with something dead inside.  Thoughts of how to kill myself would lurk in my mind – drive into the wall, jump, if I took all these tablets would they do the job?  I would catch myself thinking these things and try to reason:  “It’s not like I actually want to die.  I just didn’t want to exist any more.”  What I really wanted to do was sleep – preferably forever.

I didn’t tell others when I felt this way.  There is no way to tell someone you want to kill yourself.  There is no way to get the response you want from people.  They either: make a hasty exit, begin to cry, tell you how selfish you are or get completely freaked-out and hover over the phone ready to dial emergency services.  In all fairness, I don’t know what the right response would have been.

“Suicidal Christians!  How can this be?” you might ask.  Perhaps you think this is an oxymoron – Christians are called to have the ‘life abundant’ and failing that they should at least be ‘happy.’ They are certainly not meant to be in a place where they feel they cannot continue to live anymore!

Perhaps you feel guilty about having had these thoughts.  Maybe you doubt your salvation. Maybe you have, like me, reached a point where you see no way out.  This book is written for you.

A modicum of relief may be gained by realising that we are not alone in having suicidal thoughts.  We can read about many people in the Bible who were used and loved by God, but who were also deeply depressed to the point of wanting to die:  David speaks about his ‘downcast soul’ many times in Psalms.  Elijah wails “I have had enough, Lord…take my life.” (1 Kings 19:4)  Jonah was so distraught he said:  “Take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:3)  We hear the anguish filled words that Jesus spoke before his death:  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Psalm 72:12)

According to the World Health Organisation, more people are killing themselves today than in any previous time in our history.  More people die from their own hand than from war, natural disaster and murder combined.  About a million people across the globe die by suicide each year - that is an average of one every 40 seconds.  Some statistics report that half of all those who kill themselves are Christians.  

Since writing this book, I have been amazed at the number of Christians, some of whom I have known for a long time, who are opening up with their deepest problems.  We all need to be more ‘real’ with each other and stop perpetuating the lie that Christians are meant to be perfect…we are not…we are saved, but not perfect.  As long as desperate people think they need to wear a mask, they will be too afraid to ask for help.  If we step out bravely and share our messes with each other, then those who need to talk the most (like those who are suicidal), will come forward with their problems.  We need to shatter the taboo that Christians cannot be suicidal – they are…it is a sad, simple fact.  Let’s turn our mess into our message in the hopes that others will too.'

“Suicidal Christians” by Nita Tarr is available to purchase online at or on major online bookstores.   The reviewer says: 'Each chapter contains Holy Spirit inspired advice with discerning, practical application for problems facing anyone who is struggling.   Her battle with addiction, crushing low self-esteem, demonic oppression, and overwhelming fear are intimately and candidly probed.  As well as being a valuable resource for councillors and pastors, it is an exhilarating, exciting read for all.'